Church representatives are among those attending a UN civil society hearing in New York today to advocate for a political declaration targeting the causes of HIV/AIDS and its treatment.

The World Council of Churches Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, through the Live the Promise HIV Campaign and in consultation with the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy and partners, is supporting religious leaders as they meet with government representatives to help draft a new political declaration which many hope will guarantee zero new HIV infections in babies, zero deaths among adults and children and zero stigma and discrimination for people with HIV/AIDS by 2030.

The World Council of Churches is calling for the political declaration to address the root causes of vulnerability to HIV, to ensure universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, to eliminate stigma and discrimination targeting those with HIV/AIDS, and to ensure there is an independent accountability mechanism to monitor its implementation.

This week's meeting comes ahead of the UN high level meeting on HIV in New York in early June. Religious leaders and faith-based organisations are taking part in a 100 day countdown to that meeting.

Francesca Merico, HIV campaign coordinator for the WCC-EAA, said it is crucial that "our collective voice as religious leaders and faith-based organisations is a voice that carries both clarity and hope".

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